Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[BRIEF NOTE] The Problem with Patriotism

I picked up, very cheaply thanks to a gift card, V for Vendetta this afternoon. At long last I own my own copy. If you're curious as to why I keep referring to this Alan Moore graphic novel every couple of months, visit the V for Vendetta Shrine, the annotated guide, the Wikipedia entry, and Valerie's letter.

Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one.

An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.

This November, the movie version of V for Vendetta will be released, starring, among others, Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. Alan Moore has disavowed this version, claiming that it has no grip on the mundanities of British life. Speaking as a non-Briton who'd go to see that film, I can live with that lack of authenticity.

The one report that I've heard that does worry me very much has been the suggestion that the background of V for Vendetta will be changed, that the movie version will not be set in the late 1990s in a Britain that so battered by Ted Kennedy's 1988 nuclear war over Poland that it fell to fascism, but that it will take place in a Britain conquered by the Nazis and forced to become fascist. My objections do not rest primarily on the implausibilities of Operation Sealion. Rather, it rests on the fact that the whole point of V for Vendetta is that Britons did everything--the paramilitary thugs, the cleansing of socially suspect groups, the panopticon state, the petty cruelties of the regime and ordinary life--to themselves and by themselves, and that the only way that they can free themselves is to confront their mistaken perceptions and to fight back, again by themselves.

Making the evil foreigners the people responsible for your country's decline is never a good thing to do, I'd say. One should always look at the people actually living inside the country before you go casting out for others to blame. To love one's country is good; refusing to deal with its issues is not. The best kinds of patriots are those who pay attention to everything that goes on about them.
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